Here is a hard water truth for Odisha. In more than four of every ten wells in the State, the water level has touched a decadal low. For which, Odisha figures among the handful of states where the rise in water level vis-a-vis fall stands evenly poised.
As per a study done by the Central Groundwater Board (CGW) in post Monsoon season (Nov 2021), the water levels in as many as 45 percent of the wells surveyed in the State have recorded a fall, though a rise has been observed in 55 percent of 1245 wells analysed.
The CGW study reveals that when 650 surveyed wells in the State have shown a water-level rise of at least 2 metres in Nov 2021 as against the decadal (2011-2020) mean level, a fall was recorded in 517 wells.
A look at the CGW study shows that as against 2.6 percent wells in the State posting a rise in the range of 2-4m, a decline in the same range had been witnessed in 2.8 percent wells.
Ground Water Map
The CGW report has clearly outlined the following states who need to work out on the theme of this year's World Water Day - 'Groundwater, Making the Invisible Visible'. The states are the following.
- Arunachal Pradesh - where only 20 percent of wells have recorded a rise in water level.
- Assam - 45 percent wells show a rise in water level.
- Goa - Rise in water level in only 15 percent wells.
- Haryana - 44 percent wells recorded a rise.
- Jharkhand - Rise noticed in 50 percent wells
- Meghalaya - 44 percent wells recorded a rise.
- Nagaland - Only 50 percent of wells show a rise.
- Punjab - 31 percent wells record a rise in water level.
- Rajasthan - 41 percent wells recorded a rise.
- Tripura - 36 percent wells show a rise.
Odisha has been ranked 11th, where a rise in water level has been observed in only 55 percent of the wells surveyed.
Water Stress For Odisha?
The groundwater scenario seems not rosy in Odisha when seen in the context that only 43.65 percent of the groundwater has been extracted in the State. As many as 24 districts in the State see a groundwater extraction of below 50 percent.
Data shows Nuapada and Jajpur are the only two districts in the State where the groundwater extraction is near 70 percent. While the rate of extraction annually in Jajpur stood at over 64 percent, its 61 percent in Nuapada.
Extraction of groundwater in the range of 70 percent or above is considered unsafe in the country, as per the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
The Key Water Mark
In the given context, the Odisha government has to initiate water recharging on a missionary mode. Because, when Punjab, where out of 150 blocks, 117 stands overexploited, has recorded a rise in water level in 31 percent wells; Odisha, where all of its 314 blocks are not in the overexploited zone, could record a fall in 45 percent of wells - which is alarm bell of sort for the State.